The Sioux was a huge nation made up of seven strong tribes. The tribes were close. They traded with each other. They supported each other. They worked together. They obeyed the decisions of the Seven Council Fires. And they were peaceful.
Sioux Men: Not all Sioux men were warriors. One man might be a great hunter. Another might be a great storyteller, who told tales of Iktomi, the trickster who got what he wanted by using mischief. Yet another might be good at telling funny stories to cheer people up, like a camp comedian. Yet another might be a recorder whose job was to paint pictures on buffalo hides that told a story, usually a story about a great battle or a great victory.
The Sioux believed that people should do the job they did best.
All Sioux, men and women, were trained to defend themselves. But the Sioux recognized that life was not about fighting with your neighbor. There were many things in life that added to its riches.
Sioux Women: The women were in charge of the camp and the kids. They cooked, and gathered food and firewood. They made clothes. They made baskets. They worked with porcupine quills and beads to decorate the deerskin clothes the tribe wore. They made beautiful star quilts.
One of their major jobs was to make buffalo jerky. Jerky was a form of dried food made from meat. It was not easy to make. It took a great deal of pounding and drying and mixing. But it was an important food because it could be stored for two years without spoiling.